Johnston vital spark in Capitals’ comeback win

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After Edinburgh Capitals’ thrilling come-from-behind 5-4 victory over Fife Flyers at Murrayfield last night, two-goal hero Jacob Johnston declared “there was no panic” in the Caps’ dressing-room, despite trailing by four goals with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Johnston’s well-placed wrist shot in the dying seconds of the second period proved the catalyst for a remarkable comeback. It was completed when Paul Zanette tipped in a Johnston slap-shot past Flyers goalie David Brown in the second minute of overtime, consigning Flyers to their sixth straight defeat and bringing Edinburgh their fourth straight home win.

Johnston said: “There was definitely no panic. Coming into that second period break, we took a breath, and went over some structural things. We needed that time to re-focus. We talked about playing as a team, which is what we hadn’t been doing. We knew we had better to give, and we just went out there and played like we can.”

It had all looked so different for so long. The most innocuous of penalties for holding the stick, called by match referee Toby Craig against Capitals’ Craig McCallum after 26 seconds set the tone for a disastrous opening period for the hosts as a combination of poor play and bad breaks saw the Flyers soar to a two-goal lead.

Fife forward Shane Stockton had already seen an effort hit the crossbar before he scored a controversial goal in the sixth minute. Capitals net-minder Carsen Chubak saved an initial shot, before the American appeared to kick in the rebound, but Craig argued no distinctive kicking motion was used and allowed the goal to stand.

Caps had only themselves to blame when they fell further behind just two minutes later. As the home goal was under siege, Chubak made an initial pad save, only for Stephen Gunn to be allowed all the time in the world to whack at the loose puck, eventually forcing it over the line at the third attempt.

The home side, with Kyle Bigos in the penalty box for a high stick in the second period, took the game to the visitors whilst a man light. Brown pulled off a great double stop to deny Trevor Gerling and Ryan Hayes before Flyers made it 3-0, Danny Stewart scoring on a breakaway in the 26th minute.

Flyers increased their lead further through Phillipe Paquet. But two Capitals goals 40 seconds apart, less than five minutes into the third period, turned the match on its head. Johnston, with his second of the game, took a cleverly-disguised pass from McCallum to finish at Brown’s right-hand post. More quick passing then allowed Gerling to score into an almost empty net after Brown had been wrong-footed.

Hayes then tied the game at 4-4 with a rocket of a slap-shot from just inside the blue line after Johnston and Taylor Dicking combined to set him free down the right leading to a frantic final five minutes, before overtime ensued and Zanette scored his power-play winner.